The Binge Eating Diaries: Holiday Indulgence

By Jacki Monaco
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A series by Green Mountain alum Jacki Monaco on her journey to overcome binge eating. Follow her every other Thursday as she blogs about the victories and challenges of recovery.

My Thanksgiving was a bit non-traditional, but nevertheless, there was turkey, stuffing, and there was pie. Oh, and I seem to have forgotten to mention a green bean casserole with crispy onions browned on top, multiple variations of cookies, scrumptious sweet potatoes, and flawlessly full fat ice cream.

Did I exhibit perfect behavior with all of those choices available to me at an arm’s length? Nope. Am I okay with my imperfect, but self-made, sometimes indulgent, decisions? Yes, yes I am.

For me, the moments after holiday meals have been the most difficult; in the past, they were usually swollen with reflection, criticism, frustration.

I’ve learned that these moments are also the most critical for having self-compassion. After all, a refrigerator full of leftovers calls to us, offering a way to numb out the hurtful feelings of negative self talk.

Time is a friend to no food lover or binger, and as we wait for the referee, our internal cues, to tell us whether or not we should step away from the refrigerator or play the second half. Trying to make the transition from “I want more because it tastes too damn good” to “I need more because I’m not full” may sound indiscernible to someone without food issues… but to me, the difference is huge. It’s so worth experiencing the rewards of mindful eating – which usually mean no bloating, no regret, just satisfaction.

One thing I am struggling with at the moment is not hating myself when I do overeat “because it tastes too damn good,” but also not letting myself get away with food murder. As I sit on the fence between acceptance and distaste after many holiday meals, I look to two things to help me figure it all out: My current satiety level and emotional state. How do my body and my mind really feel after I eat? From there, I try to make a better plan for next time, holiday or not.

What’s your plan for if/when you overeat during the holidays?

4 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Ryan says:

    I really struggle with the difference between wanting food and needing food- I think I’m still out of touch with my hunger signals. I still have certain “rules” around food that I don’t allow myself to break. I will serve myself a portion of food, eat it, and consider getting more, but I never know if I’m actually hungry so I’m not “allowed” to have more. I’m afraid of eating too much and feeling guilty. When I think back on times when I was binge eating, I am still haunted by the horrible feelings of guilt and self hatred that I had post binge. I think I’m terrified to feel that again, or of feeling like I lost control. I know I’m still not in a healthy place with food so the holidays bring up a lot of issues for me. I can’t enjoy food like a normal person, so it almost feels like there is no point. I really wish I could just sit and enjoy time with my family, maybe have some dessert if I want some, and then forget about it.

    Honestly, I think you are doing amazingly well, and I wouldn’t worry to much about letting yourself get away with food murder. You are in a much better place than you used to be and I think you are probably better at eating intuitively than you may think. As I am constantly trying to remind myself, it is OKAY to eat food just because it tastes good sometimes. I think the fear of bingeing or overeating can really hold us back from actually living, or at least it does for me. Please don’t feel guilty for allowing yourself to enjoy the holidays and try not to overthink it. Merry Christmas! (or Happy Hannukah/Kwanzaa/fill-in-the-blank).

    • Amanda says:

      Ryan… you sound exactly like me. Almost brought tears to my eyes. Oh to be normal about food… eat like a normal person… feel satisfied… not feeling guilty basically all the time… le sigh.
      We can do this!! We are a work in progress, and that is something. As they say “Food is not the enemy. Your eating disorder is.”

  • Jace says:

    Ryan- your words inspire. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing with us. You write so eloquently and from the heart that I know it speaks to readers just as much it speaks to me. Thank you and let us be strong for ourselves and each other during the holidays!

    Amanda- What a wonderful response. :-)

  • Ryan says:

    Amanda and Jace- Your words made me smile. Thank you so much <3

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